This story doesn’t have a slow moment in it. You’re dropped into the action straight away and it’s a terrific ride.
What was the book about?
When Charlie Mack is hired by her ex-husband’s new wife, things get awkward quickly. Her ex, Franklin, has been charged with his brother-in-law’s murder. Charlie and Pamela both believe he didn’t do it; it’s the only thing they will ever see eye-to-eye on. But he’s also in hiding for some reason neither of them understands. To the police, it adds up to guilt, but to Charlie, it indicates that Franklin has stumbled into an unplanned, and perhaps life-threatening, complication. Charlie wants proof the case doesn’t involve a double cross, and when the Mack Investigations team throws all their assets at the case, Charlie’s girlfriend, Mandy demands assurance that Charlie’s all-out efforts to find Franklin aren’t driven by lingering romantic feelings. In the end, everyone involved learns that loyalty often runs much deeper than love.
American inner city location, mystery, murder, family, race relations.
I enjoyed the depth in the characters, Charlie particularly. She’s complicated, and her complications impact on her decisions. The secondary characters are developed well enough to support Charlie in her case, but wouldn’t stand as their own personalities. But that’s okay. Their role is to highlight Charlie and her many layers, which run from rough, and dogged, through to vulnerable and slightly lost. I loved the choppy, rapid-fire writing style. It matched the content and genre of the story. At some points, the prose reads like a police report, even when it’s simply about the characters moving about the scene. It’s very cool. The sentences become longer as the mystery reaches its conclusion and the resolution pans out. It’s clever writing.
This book is about family—both the blood type and the family we create for ourselves. It shows how the divisions in families can lead to actions that impact not only within a small circle, but outwardly into society, mirroring issues that have been grappled with for years. I liked how Head made this point inside a work of fiction.
The book is set in Detroit, and Head makes mention of locations, and streets, and the history of the city which I had no understanding of. But it didn’t pull me out of the story. It added value to it. However, I could see how some readers may become a bit lost.
This is not a romance novel. It is a murder mystery/thriller and so character chemistry—the romantic type—doesn’t come into the story at all. However, the interplay between the characters and how the Mack Investigations Team work together shows how chemistry of the professional kind is just as important sometimes.
This is the latest instalment in the Charlie Mack Motown Mysteries, and while the story stands alone, I’d like to go back and read the other books in the series. I enjoyed the fact that the integrity of a mystery was maintained all the way to the discovery. It wasn’t simply a deus ex machina where suddenly there’s a weapon or someone appearing to wrap up the case. Everything made sense, and so the ending is very satisfying.